How to Clean Wounds on your Pets

By isak, May 29, 2009

Deep wounds that cut through the skin and into the flesh will need stitches within 2-4 hours to heal most effectively. Shallow wounds and minor cuts may only require home treatment, but will heal best with first aid. Surface cuts that bleed a lot can appear more dangerous than they are, but are less prone to infection. Bleeding is a natural flushing mechanism meant to cleanse a wound. Cleaning a wound that bleeds excessively will just make the wound bleed more, so don’t try to clean it.

Any time the skin is broken, contamination can occur from bacteria or other foreign matter — even fur — and potentially cause infection. Bleeding is a natural cleansing mechanism meant to flush out dangerous material. Clean non-bleeding wounds.


  • Muzzle your pet (unless there’s a head injury or breathing problems). The wound will likely be sore and even the gentlest pet may try to bite you when you touch the wound. You can use a tie, a belt or a length of fabric to make a muzzle. In the case of a cat or a dog with a pushed in muzzle, put a pillowcase or a towel over the head.
  • Stop the bleeding. Put direct pressure on the wound with a gauze pad or clean cloth. If blood soaks through, add another pad on top. Do not remove the first pad or you could disturb the clot that is forming.
  • Get to the vet if the bleeding will not stop. A wound that bleeds heavily for more than 5 minutes has probably cut a vein or artery. Continue to apply pressure and get to the vet asap.
  • Trim pet fur away from wound. Once the bleeding stops, check the wound. If the skin is broken, fill the wound with a water-soluble lubricant like K-Y Jelly before you clip. Cut the fur back from the wound with scissors or electric clippers so you have a 1-inch border around the wound. Cut the height of the hair to about 1/2-inch. Rinse the area thoroughly with warm water. The trimmed hair will stick to the jelly and wash out.
  • Clean shallow wounds. Wash shallow cuts that don’t go completely through the skin with an antiseptic liquid soap and water or a mild soap and water. Then pat dry with a clean, soft cloth. You can wipe the area around the wound with 3% Hydrogen Peroxide, but don’t pour or dab it directly onto the wound. Hydrogen Peroxide can damage skin cells. Use an antibiotic cream like Neosporin or antiseptic spray like Bactine to help prevent infection.
  • Flush out deep wounds. Stitches are needed when cuts and wounds are so deep that they gape open or if they are located near joints that will put tension on the wound and interfere with healing. Flush it with lukewarm water to wash out germs and debris. Using clean, disposable gloves, dislodge any remaining debris — dried blood, fur or other debris — with your finger. Then gently wash the area with mild soap and pat dry.
    Salt water rinse — For open wounds that are infected, soak the wounded area in warm water or put a warm, wet cloth on the wound for 20 minutes three times a day. Use a warm saltwater solution containing 2 teaspoons of table salt per cup of warm water.
  • For puncture wounds like animal bites, call your vet. The vet will want to check the wound and probably prescribe antibiotics. Keep the wound open so it doesn’t seal in any bacteria that could cause an infection. If you can’t see your vet right away, apply a warm compress to the wound. You can use a wash cloth soaked in warm salt water (2 tsp of salt to one cup of water). Two to five times a day, hold the compress against the wound — 5 minutes on, 5 minutes off until the wash cloth cools. You can also fill a turkey baster or syringe (without the needle) with the salt water mixture, then squirt it gently into the wound until the liquid runs out clear. Apply an antibiotic ointment like Neosporin to minor cuts and wounds, but don’t medicate deep wounds until the vet has stitched them closed.
  • Bandage gaping wounds. Leave puncture wounds open, but protect gaping wounds with a bandage. Press a gauze pad or a clean towel over the wound and secure it with an Ace bandage and tape. Make sure the bandage is not too tight by slipping two fingers beneath the wrapping. You can also use Saran Wrap if you don’t have an Ace bandage. For shoulder wounds, put a t-shirt on your animal.

Clean all wounds once or twice a day with Betadine and water. If the wound has a lot of blood and crust around it, clean the edges of the wound with 3% Hydrogen Peroxide. Puncture wounds may require oral antibiotics. Watch for fever, swelling, heat, obvious pain or discharge as these may be a sign of infection. Restrict your pets activity. Dogs often lick or chew their wounds, so use a bad tasting product on the area like Bitter Apple or put use an Elizabethan collar. Remove the collar at feeding time so your pet can reach the food.


  1. Brooke says:

    While trying to cut out matted hair on my golden retriever I cut through skin/tissue and now there is an open wound. It didn’t bleed much and I’ve cleaned it with hydrogen peroxide and polypsporon but it’s an open wound/flap of tissue that I feel absolutely horrible about. Should I take him to the vet?? Thank you – I’m sick to my stomach about it.

    • isak says:

      It would be better to clean the wound with salt water. Peroxide has been found to slow healing. Add 2 tsp of sea salt to 1 cup warm tap water, and stir until it dissolves. Fill a turkey baster or syringe (without the needle) with the mixture, then squirt it gently into the wound until it’s clean. The tissue should be clear and glistening before you stop flushing the wound. Salt has anti-bacterial properties. Then apply your ointment.

      How big is the flap of skin? If it is small, the ointment may keep it soft and it will slowly reconnect. If it is large and in a place where your dog can reach it, you should have your vet check it out. Without seeing it, it’s hard for me to say.

  2. Amelia says:

    I have a 10 week old daniff. He was but on the chest/shoulder area. I called the vet but we live in a small town. being a weekend the closest vet was 1 he away. I spoke to her and explained the wounds. She said to clean them and super glue them. I have done this in the past with my dogs. So I did. I also had some canine antibiotics left from another dog so I just gave him a tiny bit just in case. 2x a day I’ve been bathing him in warm water with Eason salt. But to day one of the boo boos opened a bit and puss came out. I massaged it out and sprayed saline in it and benz in it. His front shoulder/chest is swollen too but I’m guessing just from the pressure of the bite. What else should I be doing? I am worried because we just had emergency electric come up so we don’t have money for a vet right now.

    • isak says:

      It was good that the one wound opened and you were able to massage out the pus. Unless a puncture wound can be thoroughly cleaned out, you risk closing bacteria inside by gluing it shut. And this is a great environment for bacteria to grow. The saline spray is a great idea. You should continue doing this by flushing the wound 2-3 times a day with salt water. Add 2 tsp of sea salt to 1 cup warm tap water, and stir until it dissolves. Fill a turkey baster or syringe (without the needle) with the mixture, then squirt it gently into the wound until it’s clean. The tissue should be clear and glistening before you stop flushing the wound. Salt has anti-bacterial properties.

      IS there a wound on his shoulder/chest where the swelling is? Maybe one you haven’t found? If so and the wound on is warm to the touch, it may be getting infected. You should try to open it up and use the salt water flush on this wound as well.

  3. Shelby says:

    Hello, My 5 month old Rottweiler got bit on the front of his shoulder, it left a deep circular wound and it has not stopped running. The liquid coming out is light pink. theres also a little swollen lump, I put a cone on him because he wouldn’t stop licking it but its not helping. I cleaned the wound and everything but Im worried because it’s been two days and still is very liquidy. I don’t know what to do.

    • isak says:

      Because it is deep, there is concern that bacteria may get trapped inside. The lump could be the start of an infection or just his body’s reaction to the bite.

      Rinse the wound with salt water. Add 2 tsp of sea salt to 1 cup warm tap water, and stir until it dissolves. Fill a turkey baster or syringe (without the needle) with the mixture, then squirt it gently into the wound until it’s clean. The tissue should be clear and glistening before you stop flushing the wound. (If you don’t have a baster or syringe, pour the water directly over the wound)

      Or you can apply a compress of warm salt water on a clean cloth to his shoulder for about 10-15 minutes. Make the cloth is as wet as you can make it. Salt has anti-bacterial properties.

      Afterwards, dry the wound and apply some Neosporin. Do this twice a day for 2-3 days and you should start to see an improvement.

      There is a capsule called Fish-flex which is sold where fish are sold. It is cephalexin that is labeled for fish aquarium usage. It’s the same cephalexin you get from the vet. You can give him one of these a day for 5-7 days to help fight any infection.

  4. Maxine94 says:

    My year old jack/chi has had a small cut at the bottom of the back of his ear.. it started to heal but he scratched at it and made it hurt again.. How can I treat it.. He scratches it to the point his whole ear is red not all the time though mainly at home.. my parents smoke could it be a cause of his itchiness other than the cut?

    • isak says:

      Have you looked inside that ear to see if there is anything going on? I’m trying to find the source of what is making him itch. I can’t imagine it is related to your parents smoking. You can apply some Neosporin ointment to the cut and that may help with the itching.

  5. Na'Shera says:

    Hi ! I was getting ready to give my dog a bath , I usually cut the pieces that are too matted , so as I went to is ear I cut the piece off then I tried to separate the hair and he jumped so I stopped and thought nothing of it . After I gave him the bath and he started running around I noticed his ear was bleeding ! It was a little slit and it went through his skin , I did get it to stop bleeding but idk if I should still bring him to the vet because it costs so much now-a-days !

    • isak says:

      Dog ears can bleed a lot, especially if they are injured near the outside edge because there is a blood vessel that runs around that edge. However, one good thing about a wound that bleeds is that it can push dirt and debris from the wound. If he has just a small slit in his ear, rinse it with some warm salted water — soak a clean cloth in warm salted water and hold it on his ear for a few minutes. Then dry the ear and apply Neosporin ointment to the slit. Do this a couple times a day for 2 days and I think he should be fine.

      Watch for any sign of infection — redness, warmth, swelling. Salt has anti-bacterial properties so it is a good way to cleanse a wound and will not hurt them if it is ingested. This should work.

  6. VictoriaBW says:

    Help PLEASE , I have a 2month old chihuahua and my brothers cat attacked it and scrached it on the side of his neck . He was bleeding alot . Now he has two big lumps like is swollen. Will it go away ? What can I do to get rid of it ?

    • isak says:

      If the bleeding has not stopped, apply some pressure to the wound.

      You did not mention how long ago this happened, but the lumps could be an infection setting in. Cat claws hold a lot of dirt, so you will need to cleanse the wound to remove any dirt and debris that is in it. A good way to do this is to apply compresses of warm salted water. Salt contains antibacterial properties. Soak a clean cloth in a solution of the salted water, then hold it on his neck for about 15-20 minutes. You may be able to do this while holding him in your lap. Do this 2-3 times a day. After the compresses, dry the area and apply Neosporin ointment. If the lumps do not go down, see your vet. He can prescribe antibiotics.

  7. Bella says:

    Hello, my dog was behind my mom while she was cooking and on accident my dog got hit with really hot water, she started freaking out but everything seemed fine. A few days later the part she got hit formed a scald but her dead skin got stuck on her fur so we cut it close but not to close because she yelped any ideas on how to cure her?

    • isak says:

      • Rinse the burned area in cold water. Cold water is by far the most effective first-aid treatment; it eases the pain as it cleanses. Continually applying fresh cold-water compresses will help if it’s not practical to immerse the burned area, or use ice wrapped in a towel. After applying cold water or compresses to a burn, you can bandage it with sterile gauze pads held on by tape if you wish. However, if blisters appear, try not to burst them. Dry the burn carefully before bandaging. You can apply a light dressing of an over-the-counter antibiotic cream (such as Polysporin or Neosporin), which will soothe the area, keep the skin moist, and protect it from infection.

      • Don’t apply burn ointments. Like butter (or mayonnaise), these ointments, usually oil-based, won’t relieve pain but instead will trap heat, slow down healing, and increase the risk of infection.

      • Leave small blisters alone. Blisters smaller than a dime that appear soon after the burn will usually shrink within a day or two and be reabsorbed by the body.

      • Contact your vet if a burn site becomes infected. Signs of infection include redness and pain that grow worse over a few days, pus that forms in blisters, an offensive odor at the burn site, and/or fever. After examining the burn to assess its severity, your doctor will clean and dress the injury and may also prescribe oral antibiotics to ward off infections and pain meds.

  8. Jasmin says:

    My dog was chasing one of those cats that go in our back yard to find food from the garbage. I think she got scratched by it because when she came back her ear was dripping blood. I
    dont know if its infected or what but i bathed her and put a paper towel on it to dry it. Afterwards i put a bandaid on it so its dry now but i dont know if its infected. Any suggestions besides going to the vet because im sure it will be a bit pricey.

    • isak says:

      If the wound is not thoroughly cleaned and you cover it with a bandage, you can trap bacteria under the bandage. So it’s best to not bandage it. Wash the wound a couple times a day with warm salt water. Salt has anti-bacterial properties. Then dry the area and apply some Neosporin or other antibiotic ointment. Do this a couple times a day for 2-3 days and she should be fine. A dog’s ear has lots of blood vessels in it, so when they get scratched, they will bleed a lot. This is actually good because bleeding will initially push out dirt and bacteria from the wound.

  9. Farhyo says:

    Hi my kitten his hair is off from his elbow till the his belly any advice

    • isak says:

      Any idea why? Has he scratched or licked it off? Is there a wound there now? To clean a wound, mix some salt in warm water and apply this a couple times a day. If it is related to fleas, you need to rid him of the fleas. Food grade diatomaceous earth works great and is cheap.

  10. Scott says:

    Hi, my adult terrier mix lays in the sun and has developed small blood blisters on her belly. One has burst and won’t stop bleeding. Any advice?

    • isak says:

      Pressure: cleaning the area with warm salted water and apply pressure for a few minutes. In most cases, this will stop the bleeding. If not, you should see your vet in the event there is something else going on.

  11. jpat says:

    I noticed a large red scrape (about the size of a dollar bill) on the back of my boxers leg about a week ago. I washed it out, but after a day or two it seemed to be getting worse and had a thick, black, crusty outline (blood?) Around it. I figured out that she and my other dog were licking it and making it worse so I have separated them and put an e-collar on her. I was putting neosporin on it daily for a few days and then tonight I noticed that under one of the black spots there is some pus. I have a Bacterial spray (I believe it is called Gen-One) and put that on it tonight. Any ideas how I should proceed?

    • isak says:

      Sounds like there were some germs that got stuck under the black spots. Rinse the wound thoroughly with some warm salt water. It has ant-bacterial properties. Try to soften and remove those black spots so you can get air into the wound. Then dry the area and apply the Neosporin and put her e-collar on. Do this 2 times a day for 2-3 days. You should see it starting to heal.

  12. Phyllis says:

    I have a golden retriever. She was chasing a cat and got her head stuck in between the fence and pool, when she pulled her head out she must’ve pulled her skin off with it. She has about a 4×4 inch piece of skin hanging behind her ear. Looks like she was skinned. It’s not bleeding just kind of oozing some. She doesn’t seem to be bothered at all by it. What can I do without going to the vet. I cleaned it really well and spray some antibiotic spray and pain away spray on it, applied a gauze and wrapped it. She doesn’t seem bothered by it all. Please advise what I can do so she heals and doesn’t get infected or does she need to go to the vet to get it reattached. I really can’t afford a vet visit at the moment. Please help!!!

    • isak says:

      What your doing is great. If the two areas have been cleaned thoroughly, you can wrap it closed, though she may ultimately lose that patch of skin. It would be good to re-dress the wound a couple times a day to be sure there is no infection going on. With the flap pulled over the wound, you want to watch for any kind of infection occurring under the flap.

  13. Angela Renee says:

    In desperate need of some kind of treatment for a med-large Bluetick I keep her out side on warm days in her kennel and apparently she has scrapped her ear at some point. When I brought her back in because of the weather I had noticed It is swollen and has a horrible smell but I can’t afford to take her to the vet this week.why can I do to help her ?

    • isak says:

      The smell could be an ear infection and that may have caused her to mess with her ear to the point that it is swollen. If she shook her head a lot because of the ear infection (instead of pawing at it), she may have burst a blood vessel inside her ear flap and it is filling with blood. If this is the case, her ear flap will feel warm and be heavy. This is a hematoma. Here’s a photo of an aural hemotoma so you can see what I am describing. She may even tilt her head to that side because of how it feels. If this is the case, there are two options: have the vet drain the blood inside the flap or let it run its course. If you let it run its course, it will take a few weeks and her ear may end up crinkled in appearance — “cauliflower” ear — as the liquid is re-absorbed. It’s uncomfortable for the dog as you can imagine. If you let it run its course, the ear could also rupture if she continues to shake her head and flopping that swollen ear back and forth.

      If you are not able to get her to the vet this week, try to put a wrap around her head that will hold the ear from flopping. But not too tight.

      Also, you need to clean out her ear. You can generally find dog ear wash where pet food is sold or you can mix some vinegar and water together, put a little in her ear, then clean it out with a clean cloth. Repeat this until the ear seems clean. If you use q-tips, be careful to not poke them in too far. You’ll need to do this every day for a few days until things smell and look better.

      Good luck.

  14. Katylou says:

    My poor dog had a hot spot on her leg. We treated it with hot spot treatment, but she continued licking and chewing her leg. I cleaned and wrapped it up. The next day I changed it and had to trimm away the dead skin. Underneath I found a deep, gaping wound. I’m cleaning it with hydrogen peroxide and neosporin and re-bandaging it every 12-20 hours or so. As well as treating it with a cold pack and small dose of tylenol. At this time we’re trying to find a vet that takes payments. What can I do it the meantime??? I’m very worried. She’s 10 years old. Tia

    • isak says:

      I would switch from the peroxide to a warm salt water rinse a couple times a day, then cover with Neosporin. Peroxide can harm tissues and delay healing. Salt water rinses are good because the alkalinity of the rinse helps decrease the bacterial count (bacteria like an acid environment, not an alkaline environment). Additionally, salt water is astringent and speeds wound healing through reducing inflammation and contracting the tissues. The Tylenol may help if she has pain, but it does not reduce inflammation. So it’s best to not use it if there isn’t pain involved.

      Do you know how she got the gaping wound? Sounds like more than just a hot spot gone crazy. Maybe that’s why she was licking and chewing?

  15. Evelyn Ortiz says:

    My two month old puppy was rough playing with her brothers and sisters. She was kind of attacked by all of them. Her sister bit her close to her led. She just is laying there in pain. I tried separating her. Now how do I help her. I tried to do some of the things you requested but she cries and cries. And she also tries to bite me. It is bleeding. She had blood all over her body. And when I picked her up to see what had happened and she bit me. I’m fine. But I still so worried. This just happened. She crys extremely loud. It’s scary. Help!!!

    • isak says:

      Have you checked her all over to see where the blood is coming from? She could have numerous bites from each puppy involved. It’s unusual for puppies so young to attack so viciously.

      She likely bit you thinking you were attacking her as well. Her crying could be from the fear she felt about being attacked. It’s certainly a scary thing. First you need to inspect her carefully for bites. Then flush each one out with salt water and apply some antibiotic ointment like Neosporin to the bites. You need to flush out her wounds a couple times a day for 2-4 days depending on how healing progresses. Also, keep her quiet, but make sure she knows she is safe.

      Do you have any antibiotics? They sell a product called Fish-Flex where fish are sold. This is Cephalexin that is labelled for fish use, but you can give it to her. The usual dose of cephalexin for dogs and cats is 10-15 mg per pound. This will help fight infection from the inside.

      She will also be sore from those bites. So be careful handling her in case she snaps at you. At two months, she should not have aspirin of any kind. Because of her young age, your vet can best prescribe pain meds for her. Good luck.

  16. Christine says:

    Hello, My almost 14 year old dachshund had a hard patch of fur on her backend just above the base of her tail. I thought something was spilled on her. When I gave her a bath to soften it, the whole patch of fur came off and she has an open sore, approximately 2 x 1inches.. She doesn’t seem to feel or be bothered by it. What should I do? Thank you.

    • isak says:

      You can rinse the area with salt water to clean it, then apply some Neosporin. Do this a couple times a day for a few days. The fur should eventually return, too. It could be flea related, so check her for fleas. That’s been what I have found under those same circumstances.

  17. Teri Hill says:

    Vinh Luong, that crusty layer under the cheekbone that is oozing pus is an abcessed tooth. You need to take your dog in and have its teeth cleaned and get that tooth pulled before it eats through your fur babies face any further. I had that happen to my doxie. I felt horrible ='( I hope you come back to this page and read this soon.

  18. Vinh Luong says:

    My dog developed this scab kind of right under her cheek bone area. I am not sure where it came from, my friend had her puppy over for the weekend and they played the whole time. I don’t know if it was the result of rough housing or something else, but i noticed a dark spot near her cheek so i looked at it and applied Hydrogen Peroxide, thinking it was nothing too big of a deal. But yesterday, i noticed that area became really hard and crusty, and there is obvious pus coming out. But i still can’t really tell what the wound is or what is causing it. All i can tell is that the area seems me to be hard and crusty from the pus or blood.

    • isak says:

      Sounds like she got an injury and that there was some bacteria in it that became infected. If you can remove the scab, do so, then rinse the wound with some salt water and apply an anti-bacterial ointment like Neosporin. Rinse it and re-apply the ointment a couple times a day and she should be fine.

  19. Jonathan Smith says:

    My doh got bit on the neck and has a hole about an inch deep and I can’t go to the vet what do I do

    • isak says:

      Flush it out very well with salt water, then apply some Neosporin on top. Do this 2-3 times a day for 2-3 days. Do not cover it with a bandage as there could be some dirt deep inside that you do not want to get infected.

  20. Billie says:

    Hi, my dog came in limping and after. Taking a look I noticed she cut a small opening in between her toes on the upper side of her paw pad. She’s been resting and I’ve been carrying her as needed but I’m wondering A) can I give her something for pain? Although she’s resting and mostly staying off it I just feel for her. B.) Should i put anything on it? She has kept it clean very often she licks it clean. Maybe I could spray salt water to help it close quicker? She is a quiet, tough, dog. She licks and lays her ears back when in pain. She’s nearly harmless. If she bites it’s barely a nibble. I’m just asking for other opinions but I feel like personally that she knows what she’s doing to take care of herself. And as often as she licks it I don’t want to put anything on it. If I try to cover it she will keep walking away wanting outside so it’s not an option for me. I’d rather her rest inside. Any thoughts?

    • isak says:

      You can rinse it 3-4 times a day with some salt water to be sure it is cleaned out. Her saliva is kind of sticky and could actually cover the wound with bacteria inside that could become infected. Rinsing it will wash that away. Neosporin on it would not hurt, but if she will just lick it off, stick with the frequent salt water rinse.

  21. Alex says:

    Hi! We just got a dog from a girl who could no longer take care of her. The family informed us that she had been hit by a car and she was recovering; however, she is now itching her back and licking the insides of her legs constantly. She has licked herself raw in a couple places and I just looked her over to discover lots of dried blood on her back. It looks like they were scabs at one time, but when I was separating her fur to get a better look, some of her hair fell out with a scab and there doesn’t seem to be a wound that I can find. I’m starting to worry because she keeps licking and itching so much and now there is a strong odor coming from her.

    • isak says:

      How long ago was she hit by a car? Do you see any wounds or swelling? I’m wondering if there is an infection/abscess somewhere. Where is the odor coming from? Could it be there is an internal wound that has become infected?

      Often when a wound scabs, the hair around that wound will eventually fall out. That’s often the norm. That doesn’t cause me concern. But the odor is a big concern. Is something rotting? I would definitely recommend you have her checked out by a vet. There may be something going on internally that is causing her to scratch externally. If it’s not properly address, it will just get worse.

      The vet can locate the problem and provide the appropriate antibiotics.

  22. Laura Hayes says:

    I just noticed a very hard area of fur on my dog’s hind end. I took a warm wash cloth to the area and began to attempt to soften up his fur. I quickly realized that is is dried blood. I then tried to wash the area off with antibacterial soap. The fur is still hard and I am not sure there is a wound under the fur or not. it doesn’t appear to bother my dog too much,but only when I grab the hardened area does his react. Should I attempt to cut off the hardened area to get better visualization of the source of the bleeding? If in fact there is a wound can I apply Neosporin to that area after cleaning it? How often should clean/apply ointment to the wound,if in fact that is what I discover? Thank you.

    p.s. My dog is a 10 yr old Siberian Husky mix

    • isak says:

      The worst case scenario is that this very hard area is hiding a wound that is infected. Or it could just be like a large scab. Either way, it would be good to see exactly what’s going on back there. If you can cut it off, that would be great. Just be careful not to cut his skin in the process. If he will tolerate a warm, moist cloth on it, that may soften the fur and help with cutting it off. Similarly, applying something like vaseline might help soften it, but that’s kind of a slow approach.

      Once the hard fur is removed, if there is a wound, flush it with warm water to remove any debris that might be in it. Then you are fine applying some Neosporin. If he can reach this area, you will need to flush the wound and apply the ointment 2-3 times a day for 2-3 days. If you are seeing an improvement after 2-3 days, you can back off to 1-2 times a day for a couple more days. The ointment brings anti-bacterial properties with it and provides a protective barrier from infection.

  23. Danielle taylor says:

    My dog started licking her hand like a week ago and I didn’t think nothing of it probably thought it was just itchy or something . A couple days later I noticed like a small gash goin across one of her fingers so I decided to just wrap it up to keep her from licking it , 3 days later it started to smell a little so I unraveled it and looked at it , it had gotten worse and the cut got bigger and deeper looking like her whole finger was going to come off and I haven’t had any money to afford taking her to a vet . What’s should I do ?

    • isak says:

      You need to flush it out really well with salt water to make sure there isn’t something in there causing an infection. Then apply some Neosporin ointment and bandage it so she doesn’t lick the ointment off. Flush and change the bandage 2-3 times a day for about 3-4 days. After that, depending how it looks, you may be able to just flush it a couple times a day.

      I think what happened is that you did not clean it before you covered it and that created a great environment for bacteria to grow.

  24. Gaurav says:

    A street dog attac on my dog eye and so their is some wound including swalling,mucus and tearing.
    But my dog feel fear for touching his eye for cleaning .so please suggest me some antiseptic.

    • isak says:

      Any chance you can find an ointment called Terramycin? Also Neosporin makes an ointment for eyes called Neosporin Opthalmic Ointment. Make sure it does not contain steroids (it will say so on the label if it contains steroids). If none of these are available, flush your dog’s eye a few times a day with a natural eye flush like Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drops. Good luck.

  25. BrendA says:

    My 6 month old great dane was snapped at by a small day. I didnt notice one small bite puncture till 3 blocks down where i saw some blood on his inner lip where theres a small puncture from one of the other dogs teeth. He’s not whine and acting normal and is not bleeding. Whaat should I do? How can I clean it inside his inner lip

    • isak says:

      You can flush the wound out with water a couple times a day just to keep any debris out of it and keep an eye on it for any infection, but it should heal okay on it’s own. If it does become infected, you can give him some antibiotics. A good one is called Fish-Flex. It is cephalexin that has been labeled for use in fish aquariums so you can usually buy it where fish are sold or online. Good luck.

  26. Pragya says:

    There is a street dog in my locality. I think any dog has bitten him. He has a whole on his leg. I applied Betadine on his wound 2-3times but now he is not letting me apply easily and runs away. He can lick his wound. So do u think there can be something serious. What should i do to help him? Should I try and apply neosporin ppwder? I don’t know where maggots are there or not.

    • isak says:

      It would help if you could flush the injury, even with just water, then try to apply Neosporin, though he will likely lick it off if he can reach it. The Betadine is a good idea. Do you have access to any antibiotics that you might be able to put in some food? There is a product they make for treating fish tanks called Fish-Flex. It is cephalexin. There is also a fish tank product called Fish-Mox. This is amoxicillin. Either of these could be used for this dog and because they are labeled for fish tank usage, they do not require a prescription.

      Good on you for helping this baby! You have a wonderful heart!

  27. Abigail says:

    A week ago I came back home from a day away and my small dog had a cut)or bite? I’m unsure) on her neck and it looked swollen I put hydrogen peroxide and cleaned it out with warm water and I did that for a few days but instead of hydrogen peroxide I put Neosporin but she kept messing with it and now all of the hair around the cut is gone and anytime it scabs up she rips it off and gross pus leaks out so today I bough liquid bandage for dogs and a wrap so she can’t get into it but it still looks swollen and doesn’t look like it’s getting much better and Unsure of what to do cause i really can’t afford to go to the vet and I dont know what else to do

    • isak says:

      It sounds like she still has bacteria down in the wound and it’s causing an infection. So you want to flush that out and let the wound heal from the inside out. She’s actually doing the right thing by scratching the scab off and letting the wound drain.

      Here’s what you can do daily for a few days:
      • Clip the hair around the wound (sounds like she already did that?).
      • Gently squeeze the wound to force out any pus.
      • Flush the wound carefully with a little bit of soap and LOTS of water.
      • Apply antibiotic ointment to the injury to prevent infection.

      I wouldn’t bother with the liquid bandage because it may seal dirt into the wound. You want the wound to breathe.

  28. Shelley Laforce says:

    My dog has a bite wound on her neck about an inch deep, I didn’t know that you can’t put peroxide in it and that was the first thing I did. Will the wound still heal now that I have done that?

    • isak says:

      Yes, it will still heal, just more slowly. Because it is a deep wound, you should flush it out a couple times a day to be sure there are no germs deep inside it that could cause infection, then cover it with Neosporin. This will let it heal from the inside to the outside rather than from the outside to the inside.

  29. Sharon says:

    Very good to read sound advice for my precious little girl. Thank you much.

  30. Celia says:

    My puppy is 6 months she is half husky half Shepherd. The collar got to small for her and she apparently still kept pulling and now she has a very very bad cut she bleeds and I believe she has a infection there is a weird odor. What can I do to clean it and about how much time will it take for it to heal. We took her a bath then we cleaned her and put a bandage on it. Just scares me to see her like that in pain. I don’t have the money to take her to the vet the bad cut is all the way around but in some spots she doesn’t bleed and you can see her skin. What can I do please please help.

    • isak says:

      Clean the wound with soapy water to get out any debris, then rinse it off thoroughly and cover the wound with antibiotic ointment like Neosporin. Do this a couple times a day. It should start to smell and look better in a few days. You’ll want to keep applying the ointment for a week, maybe more because as it heals, it will itch and you do not want your puppy to scratch this area.

      The odor is likely infection and/or dying tissue. So be sure you clean it with soapy water a couple times a day. Hopefully there were no maggots present in the wound. If so, be sure to flush them out as well.

  31. Vanessa says:

    My dog was recently bit by an unruly Graet Dane. He has two very minor scrapes to the inside of his ear and a deeper cut on the side of his ear. I cleaned his wound with dawn dish soap and water. Tried to trim away as much hair as I could (he has long hair it’s it very hard to trim by his ear!). It seems like his cuts has scabbed over but it is very hard to tell on the one by the side of his ear. Do you think I should take him to the vet? Please note that he HATES the vet and has to take a Xanax when we do go in so I like to try to avoid it as much as possible. Not that it really matters but he is a Newfie/Lab/Mutt.

    Any help or words of advice would be GREATLY appreciated!

    Thank you!!

    • isak says:

      Sounds like a big boy argument! 🙂

      Sounds like you are on the right track. Keep the wound clean and apply an antibiotic ointment like Neosporin to it. The ointment will of course help with any infection, but will also keep the scab soft at the beginning of healing and hopefully prevent your dog from scratching it off (because it itches) and re-opening the wound too sound.

  32. Kaitlynn says:

    My dog was cut a few days ago, its about an inch deep by her paw. Is it okay if i put hydrogen peroxide on it then antibiotic ointment on it then wrapped and taped it? I dont have $400 lying around to get her stitched up.

    • isak says:

      Rinse the wound thoroughly with soap and water. You are trying to be sure that you rinse out any debris/germs that may be inside the wound. Then cover it with Neosporin. Keep an eye on her because she may try to lick the Neosporin off. If she does, wrap the wound.

      Rinse and re-apply ointment a couple times a day for a few days.

      NO hydrogen peroxide. The bubbling action actually causes damage to the tissue and slows healing.

  33. Rhonda Shinn says:

    My dog Chloe has skin allergies. I have been giving her meds for the skin allergies.
    She is still scratching the area where a collar would go. She has scratched so bad the area is bleeding. I barely touch the fur and she cries out. What can I do/use to treat the wound? I have read several sites that say not to use peroxide. I dont have the money right now to take Chloe to the vet.

    Thank you,
    Rhonda Shinn

    • isak says:

      Try Neosporin ointment. If you think the area is also painful, there is a Neosporin cream that has pain relievers in it.

      Peroxide has fallen out of favor in recent years. Their finding is that the bubbling action can actually damage skin cells and increase healing time.

  34. Damien says:

    Hey I was hoping for some advice about my dogs wound, my dog and I were going for a walk around the block and a couple of houses down, a car was in reverse and scrapped her hind leg. She has a dime sized puncture that goes through the the skin, and the rest is just scrapped off the hair on her leg, is there anything I should do before I take her to the vet on Monday(there closed on weekends) I’ve managed to guaze up her cut and wrap it with diluted peroxide.

    • isak says:

      You want to be sure it is cleaned out. Soap and water will do this. You can slather it with an antibiotic ointment like neosporin, then wrap it so she doesn’t lick it off. Check it a couple times a day. Certainly glad things weren’t worse.

  35. Cynara says:

    Hi I have a cat and my stupid little sister put a hairtie around its neck and it’s bleeding and cut because it was on for a while before we noticed it do you have any advice for me please.

    • isak says:

      You need to flush the wound out with warm water and a little soap to make sure there is no debris in the wound. Then you can apply some neosporin to the wound. Keep an eye on it to be sure it doesn’t develop an infection. Flush it and apply neosporin each day for about 5 days.

  36. Calcifer says:

    my dog somehow got a cut but i dont know if by animal or if my something else but the cut is kinda gaped and the bleeding stopped i dont know how to treat it please help me sap

    • isak says:

      Flush it out really well to be sure there is no dirt or debris in the wound. Then apply some antibiotic ointment. Keep an eye on it to be sure it doesn’t get infected. It won’t hurt to flush it a couple times a day and re-apply the ointment. The ointment has antibiotic properties in it plus it also protects the wound from any bacteria entering it.

      Good luck.

  37. Amber says:

    My cat has been biten by something outside and I’m not sure what. He barely puts pressure on it and it’s black I guess from the dry blood around it . But it does bleed a little here and there but I just want to know if there is anything I could do to help ease his pain or help it heal faster . Thanks in advance.

    • isak says:

      You want to clean it with some soap and water so that no harmful bacteria is stuck to the wound. It would be nice to be able to add some antibiotic ointment like neosporin to the wound, but if it’s his foot, he will lick it off. If possible, maybe you can wrap the wound after adding some ointment.

      Try to keep it clean by cleaning it up with soap and water, then rinsing it a couple times a day to be sure it doesn’t get dirt in it. Salt water may help dry it out if it seems overly moist.

      He may lick it. If so, you want to keep an eye on it to be sure he doesn’t cause any problems.

  38. Kimberly says:

    My puppy had her leg removed it is healing good but now there is a red strawberry patch right below the stitching it’s not painful to touch or hot she’s moving around fine on her three legs evening wanting to run and play it will be 2 weeks Thursday since she had her surgery should I take her to the vet or wait and see if it goes away long as it’s not bothering her

    • isak says:

      Give your vet a call. Perhaps it’s a normal part of the healing process and they can tell you that.

      It’s amazing how quickly they rebound as though it’s nothing to lose a leg, isn’t it?

  39. Souvik Das says:

    Hey can anyone help me…? Its very urjent..
    A stray dog of just 2-3 months old got bitten by a big dog severely…and there is no veterans or pet shop…so plz help me asap.

    The wound is in her neck.
    Details– 3-4 inches severe cut in neck and a hole in rt shoulder…
    I put betadine liquid and betadine ointment and keep bandaging for 3 days, and she cant walk for severe bone pain in leg….and i gave her a half pain killer for 1 nt and half taximo antibiotic day and night and decided to give for 1 week…..Am i doing right?
    Plz help me..plz plz plz
    i can work if u give advice asap.

    • isak says:

      Given that the wound is deep, you want to make sure you are flushing it out thoroughly on a regular basis so no germs can get in them. Even a warm water flush is good. Betadine is good to apply after flushing the wounds. Next you do not want to close the wound else you risk closing germs inside that can cause problems later. The wounds will need to heal from the inside out. The Taximo is good and keeping the wounds bandaged is good so long as you open the bandages, flush the wounds and redress the wounds a couple times a day. Something like Neosporin ointment will help, too. Do NOT use hydrogen peroxide.

      Bite wounds are very painful. That could be why she isn’t walking yet. Plus the shock of being attacked. They do not understand being attacked.

      Good luck to you both. I think you are on the right path! Hang in there and be consistent with your plan.

  40. Hannah says:

    My 3 year old pregnant dog had an inflection by her belly and there is puss, she seems to be cleaning it, what should I do?

    • isak says:

      You can flush the wound with some salt water. If you can cover it so she won’t lick it, you could apply some Neosporin, then cover it.

      Flush it a few times a day. If you have a spray bottle, mix up some salt water in the spray bottle and spritz the wound. This will help to dry it out.

  41. Nicole Marquis says:

    I just adopted a one year old cat, about a week ago, from a shelter and when we took her home she got a respiratory infection. We’ve been giving her her meds but she hasn’t been eating or drinking so we’ve been giving her food supplements and ensure through a syringe as well as her liquid meds. I noticed recently that she’s been rubbing the side of her mouth on hard surfaces and when I looked at the area some of the hair was gone and she has dry blood there as well. Her nose is also dry and split in the center with a little blood. I’m not sure why this is happening. Any advice? And can I use the hydrogen peroxide around her mouth? Thank you!

    • isak says:

      Congrats on saving a shelter cat! Good on you!

      Can you see in her mouth to see if she might have a problem tooth? If she has a tooth that is bothering her, she may not eat or drink because of the pain. I don’t know what meds she is on for her respiratory infection, but I have a cat on Clindamycin for an infected tooth. If there is an infection in her mouth you might also be able to smell it. It will smell bad.

      If it’s not a tooth, I think you are on the right track that there is something in or around her mouth bothering her. I wouldn’t use the hydrogen peroxide without knowing what’s going on. It’s also really important for cats to drink water everyday. It may be best to have a vet look in her mouth.

      Good luck and let us know what turns out to be the problem.

  42. Tiffany says:

    My husky has an injury between his front legs on his sternum. I’m not sure if it is a cat bite or an injury caused by a human. Regardless I’m not sure if it would be described as a gaping or puncture wound. It is very painful and is secreting a strawberry fluid which I assume is puss and blood. I do have an e collar on him. I am taking him to the vet tomorrow but feel like he needs some first aid now. My cat had a similar injury (think it came from the same source) and the vet had to make an incision to flush the wound out. That’s a lot of strawberry fluid! At the rate my husky is secreting I worry he may become dehydrated or something else may happen. I have to wait to go to the vet tomorrow because of financial reasons. Any suggestions to hold him over? Oh and he is in pain. When he walks his legs tug the injury.

    • isak says:

      The oozing may be good for flushing any debris out of the wound. It’s important to clean the wound by flushing it with soap and water or you can apply a warm wash cloth that has some mild soap on it. Then apply a thin layer of an antibiotic cream or ointment (like Neosporin). Do not use rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, or Mercurochrome. These can harm the tissue and slow healing.

      For the pain, it will not hurt for you to give him a buffered aspirin. This will ease his discomfort until you see your vet.

  43. Heather says:

    I just realized that the flea collar I had put on the kitten due to fleas when I adopted it had grown too tight. It’s now rubbed raw and a few areas are bloody due to collar pieces cutting in to skin. What is the best way I can help heal this? I won’t be putting collars on ever again due to this. I have washed the area as much as he would allow me to with water for now. But he can reach it with tongue so unsure if I can put neosporin on it since he most likely will just lick it off. Please help I feel absolutely horrible. Out of 6 pets this is the first time I have ever had this issue. And it is tearing me up inside.

    • isak says:

      Apply the Neosporin, then wrap the area with a collar-like bandage. If that just won’t work, wash it gently a few times a day with antibiotic soap or a diluted Betadine solution.

      Flea collars have always concerned me because they are so close to the pet’s nose and mouth.

  44. shay says:

    My puppy got scratched by a cat lasft weekend and not the tiny scratch is oozing clear junk. What do I do? I already put hydrogen peroxide and neosporin. Idk how Kong it’s takes to stop oozing.

    • isak says:

      You need to clean it out with something like salt water or epsom salts (mixed with water) to help clear the ooze. This will help it begin to dry out. Let it dry for a bit, then cover it with neosporin. Repeat this 2-3 times a day for a couple days and it should begin to look better. The peroxide is just not letting it dry out.

      There is also a product called Simple Saline that you can buy where first aid stuff is sold. You can use this in place of the salt water/epsom salts bath.

  45. Estefana Garcia says:

    I have a 2 year old puppy who’s hind legs got ran over & peeled the top skin from her ankle & almost reaching her nails, where you could see bone & I don’t know, maybe cartilage. What can I do to help her heal for I have no $ at this time to take her to the vet. Poor baby, is in pain. Please help!

    • isak says:

      It would be worth the vet visit for pain meds. Otherwise, try Buffered Aspirin (Ascriptin): 5 mg/lb every 12 hours.

      Is the skin there and can be pulled over her ankle or is it gone? You need to flush the wound with epsom salts 2-4 times every day, then cover it with antibiotic ointment like Neosporin. You’ll need to wrap the wounded area with something clean so your puppy doesn’t lick the ointment off. She will want to lick it to clean it herself, but don’t let her.

      I don’t know what you are seeing, but maybe you need to bandage it so that you can close the wound? If so, it is very important that you clean the wound thoroughly so you don’t close dirt inside.

      Also read this post. It would be great if you could get some antibiotics in her as well.

      It’s important to keep it very clean and moist so it can heal. This will take some time.

  46. lydia bigham says:

    My lovely kitty got its collar stuck on something I believe, and she rubbed the hair and first layer of skin off her neck on both sides we put peroxide on it and now the poor kitty is scared. So am I the collar we received with her I didn’t check if it was a break away. Now it’s to late, what is the best treatment for her neck wounds

    • isak says:

      If she cannot reach the area of the wounds to lick it, you can apply some antibiotic ointment like neosporin to it.

  47. Erin says:

    My cat is pregnant and she has a cut on her tail. It is on the shaft of her tail in the middle. At first I didn’t worry too much about it because it seemed to be healing, but now it has turned into a raw, painful sore because she won’t stop licking it. I attempted to dress the wound once already tonight but she kept growling, hissing, trying to bite me and claw at me and I don’t really want to try to restrain her again because I don’t want to hurt her or the babies. Is there a gentler way to go about this? Should I just leave her alone?

    • isak says:

      Probably what she needs is one of those e-collars that will prevent her from licking her tail. Then you can apply some antibiotic ointment to her tail and start getting it healed. It would also be helpful if you could clean it before you dress it to speed the recovery.

      It must be painful if she is growling and hissing at you when you try to touch her tail. So you should address this problem before it becomes more infected. Without a collar on her, she will lick off anything you apply.

      The collars cost about $10 at your pet supply store. I think even Walmart carries them.

  48. Julia Michell says:

    I am caring for a rescue whose had half an ear amputated. He’s very scared. I muzzle him and pour in saline fluid, then I pour on purple antiseptic. He’s too strong to restrain alone. The wound is crusty & a bit red. He had antibiotics, anti inflammatory & painkillers. I hope he’ll be ok without further intervention.

    • isak says:

      The saline and maybe even the antiseptic are probably creating the crustiness by drying things out and that may be irritating him a bit. You could rub a little baby oil or even an antibiotic ointment on it to keep it soft.

  49. Rhonda says:

    Hello I was wondering what I could do For this messagepoor sweet pit bull. Stray that’s been hanging around my house I’ve been feeding her but she seems to be terrified of humans I’m trying to gain her trust but she’s not quite there yet, and I noticed today that she must have gotten into a fight yesterday because she has scratches and wounds all over her head and one of her eyes is swollen. Shut and it has puss coming from it.I want to clean out her wounds but she doesn’t let me get to close to her yet…and I’m afraid she might bite me if I put something on her wounds that sting or burn do u know of anything that won’t hurt her when u put it on her? And I can’t afford to take her to the vet

    • isak says:

      Check out this post. It lists some human drugs you can use. If you can’t touch her, maybe an aspirin for the pain or some amoxicillin/cephalexin to ward off infection.

  50. JaneRadriges says:

    The article is usefull for me. I’ll be coming back to your blog.

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